There are no shortages of incredible places around the world. These places awe and inspire those lucky enough to experience them; have a way of making someone feel incredibly small while simultaneously connecting them to something greater than their individual existence.
For me, my list of inspiring places grows larger with each trip we take. As a hopeless romantic at heart, I’m constantly looking out for places that leave me in awe and allow my imagination to soar. This list includes gorgeous beaches with clear blue water, magnificent castles, breathtaking city views and small villages full of remarkable people.
But one place that continues to inspire me every time I visit is a bit closer to home for me. Lincoln Park, just north of Chicago’s downtown district, is an oasis of calm and tranquility in the midst of a booming metropolis. It is my favorite place to contemplate the things going on in my life. Take a stroll through this 1200-acre park and you’ll see why it is my go-to spot in Chicago when looking to be inspired.
Lincoln Park Amenities
Lincoln Park is more than just a park. Located just west of Lake Shore Drive, there is so much to do beyond just grassy fields for the kids to run around. Of course there is plenty of that and I highly recommend Lincoln Park for families needing a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, if you’re looking for more than just a place for the little ones to burn off steam, here are a few more things to pique your interest.
Take a stroll around North Pond
North Pond is a large reservoir between Wrightwood and Fullerton Avenues. Beautiful views of the Chicago skyline mix with lush greenery and trails making this a good location for a romantic evening stroll or daytime nature walk with the kids. Make sure to go down the steps to the platform to see if you can spot a turtle in the water.
Photo courtesy of Tiffany Rebecca
Try out the North Pond Restaurant
The North Pond restaurant is located just north of North Pond with excellent views of the water. Make sure you plan ahead because this romantic dining location is only open in the evenings on Tuesdays through Sundays with an additional opening for Sunday brunch. We haven’t been able to eat at the North Pond restaurant yet but it is on our bucket list of things to do in Chicago before we move.
Check out the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum opened in 1999 to bridge the gap between city living and the natural world. It is now one of Chicago’s more popular museums. Make sure to check out the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, the museum’s most notable exhibit and explore the free nature trails outside that I mentioned above.
Go to the Zoo
A trip to Lincoln Park wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the zoo with the same name. Lincoln Park Zoo is free of charge and run by donations. But don’t let that deter you from visiting. This zoo is incredibly well run and beloved by the citizens of Chicago. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Lincoln Park Conservatory, located just adjacent to the west entrance of the zoo. It is also free.
Take Advantage of the Playgrounds
There are a few children’s playgrounds scattered throughout the park. Kids can burn off some steam after a long day of museum hopping. Picnic tables give adults a place to rest their feet while still keeping an eye on their little ones. The playgrounds are completely fenced in so there is no worry that kids will run off and get lost.
Go to the Beach
Photo courtesy of Tiffany Rebecca
Of course I couldn’t mention Lincoln Park without recommending a trip to the beach. The lake shore is just a short walk east of Lincoln Park. Depending on which direction you are coming from, you have access to several beaches. Bring your swimsuit and go for a swim (but beware, it’s cold!) or go for a walk or bike ride along the cement trail from one end of the park to another. Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to take in the stunning backdrop of the city’s skyline.
Perhaps my favorite thing to do at Lincoln Park is to find one of the many benches or a shady tree and just relax. Before Ladybug and Buddy came along, whenever I needed a break from the noise and congestion of the city, I would spend my free time with a book and relax for awhile. Lincoln Park was always the place I would go with a pen and paper (or my laptop) when writers’ block took over. I would sit and people watch or just let my imagination wander. Many ideas came to me during those times. This reason alone is why Lincoln Park is one place that inspires me.
Have you been to Lincoln Park?
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